New York gets wheelchair-accessible cabs

By Kate Rice
New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has introduced Accessible Dispatch, a dispatching service for wheelchair-accessible taxicabs.

Accessible Dispatch provides on-demand cab service round the clock with no reservations necessary. It is operated by Metro Taxi, a company located in West Haven, Conn.,that has dispatched 233 cabs to locations in Manhattan.

There are five ways to request a wheelchair-accessible taxi. One is to call 311, New York City’s general number for information about the city. Or, users can call (646) 599-9999, text (646) 400-0789, use the mobile app “Wheels on Wheels” (WOW Taxi) or order online at www.nyaccessibledispatch.org.

The dispatch service provides service for travel originating in Manhattan and ending anywhere in the five boroughs, Westchester and Nassau counties, and Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

Passengers pay the normal metered taxi fare in New York City from the point of pick-up to destination. There are no extra costs to passengers. The wheelchair-accessible vehicles are rear- and side-entry minivans.

When offered a trip, the taxi driver must accept it within two minutes and proceed directly to the pick-up location.

Accessible Dispatch will pay drivers directly for the “deadhead,” or the portion of their trips en route to scheduled pick-ups. These costs are funded through a fee paid by all New York City taxi medallion owners.

All drivers who operate a wheelchair-accessible cab have been or will be trained in wheelchair assistance and boarding and deboarding protocols.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly.
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